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DeWolf, first openly gay person on Seattle school board and former Capitol Hill Community Council president, joins race for Sawant’s District 3 seat

(Image: Elect Zachary DeWolf)

Zachary DeWolfSeattle Public Schools board member representing Central Seattle neighborhoods and former Capitol Hill Community Council president, has announced he will also join the race for Kshama Sawant’s seat on the Seattle City Council.

“I’ve been advocating for my neighborhoods for the past seven years and I think it is time we have a Council member who will also advocate for our neighborhoods and the critical needs of our neighbors,” DeWolf said in his announcement. “I want to continue to meet with people in every area of our district and hear what matters most to them. Those are the voices and memories that I will take to City Hall.”

DeWolf says he is the first openly gay person to be elected to Seattle’s school board.

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DeWolf’s campaign is touting his “extensive history as a community leader, volunteer and elected official in the City of Seattle.”  DeWolf currently works as a program manager for All Home King County, focused on youth and student homelessness, as well as diversion and prevention policies.

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce also has a candidate in the race after director and longtime LGBTQ and event organizer Egan Orion launched his campaign for District 3 earlier this month. “I’d love for there to be a queer voice on council again,” Orion said in his announcement.

The 2019 race will represent Sawant’s second defense of her seat on the council as an incumbent following her debut victory to join the body over incumbent Richard Conlin in 2013. With her tremendous name identification and a passionate following, Sawant represents a formidable opponent who has already stared down ethics threats over the influence of her Socialist Alternative political group.

“This year will be a referendum on one vital question: Who runs Seattle? Amazon and big business,” Sawant asked during her January campaign announcement. “or working people?”

Sawant has said she supports the “progressive” effort but will not participate in the city’s Democracy Voucher program because her campaign believes the fundraising limits that are part of the program will be too limiting in the face of the likely major spending on behalf of her opponents.

After already being part of some of the most expensive races in Seattle history, Sawant said she expects the pool of spending to oppose her to grow in 2019 after Amazon spent an “eye-popping $350,000 in 2017 to buy their mayor Jenny Durkan.”

DeWolf did not specify if he plans to be part of the Democracy Voucher program like the other Sawant competitors.

He’ll face a bit of cach-up with the other competitors with a head start in the campaign like housing-first urbanist and small business owner Logan Bowers in what is likely to become a “million dollar” race to become the “top two” out of August’s primary and win November’s general election.

In a March interview with the school board member about the district’s priorities, CHS asked DeWolf about his interest in running in District 3.

“Here’s the thing: our schools and our students need a really strong, energetic young advocate like myself. I don’t want people to lose focus on our schools,” DeWolf said at the time. “I’m happy being over here, waving my hands in the air just trying to get my neighbors to pay attention to and care about our public schools. For now, I want to finish the job that I think is the most critical: bringing ethnic studies to our schools. If our district can do that, then we can celebrate and talk about those things.”

DeWolf now says he is starting the race with a big boost — endorsements from Seattle City Council members Lorena Gonzalez, and Teresa Mosqueda.

According to his announcement, DeWolf is a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Nation and was raised in Spokane. He now lives in the Central District with husband Derek DeWolf and “their 4 year old yellow lab Maya.”

DeWolf also has the distinction, we should note, of being the first D3 candidate with CHS bylines.

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35 thoughts on “DeWolf, first openly gay person on Seattle school board and former Capitol Hill Community Council president, joins race for Sawant’s District 3 seat

  1. Zach is an excellent human and will be an excellent candidate!! He’s far enough to the left that it will be hard to caricature him.

    • Is this a “top 2” primary if nobody gets 50%? With the addition of Zach along with Egan Orion, now I’m worried about the field being split between the 2 of them an Her Mouthiness winning again. If it’s a “top 2” that probably wouldn’t happen.

  2. I am sure he will be better than Sawant. Which is like saying malaria is better than the plague.

    Watch out Seattle.

    He is a blow hard. Should have never run for the school board. Doesn’t meet with the community. Has a shit storm going on at Washington Middle School and has done nothing about it. Nearly half the the parents have asked for the principals removal.

    Doesn’t believe asians are minorities. Really? REALLY?!?!

    As an individual of native american decent. I. Would. Never, Vote. For. DeWolf. Again.

    • I second your blow hard comment. Washington Middle School parent here. I’ve sent Mr. Dewolf several e-mails about our disaster of a principal. He hasn’t ever acknowledged receiving them. Other parents say the same.

      He begrudgingly met with concerned parents once. It was brief – maybe 30-40 minutes. He couldn’t stay long because he had to dash off to a party. (That should tell you how he prioritizes.) Other than that he’s been MIA.

      • blowing hard against BLOW HARDERS like DeWiolf.

        Thank you though. I will tone it down if DeWolf decides to give up his seat as he has truly moved on. I will vote for the commie if he doesn’t resign if final two.

  3. DeWolf now says he is starting the race with a big boost — endorsements from Seattle City Council members Lorena Gonzalez, and Teresa Mosqueda. – I Don’t want endorsements from any of these existing lunatics. If they approve of him I don’t.

  4. Anyone who seems happy that Mosqueda or Gonzalez endorses them will not get my vote. It seems voters want a change; DeWolf seems like what we already have on the council.

  5. Lost me at endorsed by Gonzalez and Mosqueda (we do NOT need more of the same), but anyone involved in SPS should be kept far away from City Hall. SPS is in a constant state of self-inflicted crisis, and has been for years. This person is a part of it. Thanks, but no.

    • Obviously the school board seat was just a step up the ladder for this guy. He will run for Mayor someday soon. And he is more of the same for this council. Perhaps more polite than Sawant, but the result will be more accomodation of the homeless, and no real change in direction. I will be looking for another candidate.

  6. Juarez is the councilor who essentially accused a descendant of a holocaust survivor of trying to recreate Nazi Germany, simply because he thought that some homeless people needed to be potentially provided services against their will. So yeah, I wouldn’t be bragging about being endorsed by her. And this is how she spoke to someone who supported her.

    Quote from Seattle Times column by Alex Berezow:

    “I believe strongly that it is not compassionate to leave people who are unable or unwilling to care for themselves to suffer and die on the street. Because many (but certainly not all) homeless people struggle with mental illness or drug addiction, I suggested that Seattle find a way to make it easier to provide treatment to these troubled souls — involuntarily, if need be. It could literally save their lives.

    Juarez exclaimed, “What is this? Nazi Germany?”

    Appalled — in part because my grandparents survived Nazi Germany — I got up and walked out.”

  7. Glad to see so many people have come to see the Great and Powerful Kshama Sawant for what she is: an opportunistic demagogue who’s using the D3 seat to build her brand in the growing (yuck, yuck) movement of international ‘Revolution.’ She spends a huge amount of time out-of-district, out-of-state, and out-of country, doing agit-prop speeches in front of tiny audiences of her ‘comrades.’ She’s cancelled more meetings of the Committees she chairs than she has attended. The stories of her failure to respond to constituents are legion.

    But set up a camera, and she’s there.

  8. This is an easy race. Let the challengers fight it out among themselves and the winner gets my vote and perhaps my dollars. In my wildest dreams two of the challengers will beat out Sawant and she does not make it past the primary. But given how lazy so many voters are and her name recognition, she will most likely get to the final election. Then it gets interesting. I predict she will lose by a landslide. Nobody with a working brain will sit this election out. They will either be one of her fans, or her detractors, but she is such a flashpoint that it will be a well watched election with passions and cash flowing freely.

    As to DeWolf, no comment at this point in time. But wary given his work on homelessness. Wonder if he is an apologist for campers or wants limits and enforcement.

  9. I’m with Orion this time around. We don’t really need someone who has performed so poorly in his existing position to be elevated to a more important role.

  10. blowing hard against BLOW HARDERS like DeWiolf.

    Thank you though. I will tone it down if DeWolf decides to give up his seat as he has truly moved on. I will vote for the commie if he doesn’t resign if final two.

  11. I will be interested to learn of his specific positions on issues, and how they differ from Egan Orion’s. It sounds like he is pretty far left, not that different than Sawant, so if that is true then Egan will get my vote, and my democracy vouchers.

  12. NO on DeWolf! I urge everyone to investigate his COMPLETELY ABSENT performance as a school board member. He has blithely thrown the children of Central Seattle under the school bus, apparently as a hit and run on the road to higher aspirations. It’s truly galling.

    (For what it’s worth, I supported DeWolf in his school board run. Well fool me only once.)

  13. Is this a joke? He has an entry-level government job and his performance on the school board has been disastrous.

    I would vote for Sawant first.

    Good thing Orion is an option.

  14. DeWolf says that he wants to help homeless children. Olympia is pushing bills to support homeless children in schools. So, why isn’t he staying on the board to focus on the job he was elected to do. (!)

    Second, DeWolf says he wants to bring ethnic studies into schools. Note: This effort is being led by teachers and Seattle Education Association. The real work is implementation- professional development, funding etc.

    DeWolf’s constituents say he is missing in action.

    Don’t let this guy make it past the primary!